How to Use Minor 9 Chords

This chord. It’s melancholy, moody, dreamy, jazzy, buttery, and just like butter it goes on everything.

In fact, you’re probably not using it nearly as much as you should be in your music! (But, go light on the butter for the sake of your heart, please.)

The minor 9 chord adds depth when your progression feels flat, it adds color when your song feels monochrome, and it can help open up a message that feels too one-sided — which is always a strong tool in songwriting.

In today’s newly launched video, we’re taking our hats off to the magical, mystical powers of the minor 9 chord.

Please enjoy this in-depth explainer on how to use minor 9 chords in your music, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more of these videos as soon as they come out! And if you’re looking to level up your musical skills, join Soundfly’s all-access membership here.

The Minor Nine

Essentially, the minor 9 chord is built from a minor triad (root, minor third, perfect fifth) with added seventh and ninth intervals.

In other words, you can create a minor 9 by “stacking thirds” or playing every other note in your scale. In the below graphic, the top note is the ninth, an octave above the second scale degree.

But of course, you can play these notes together in any order. Try revoicing this chord by switching around the pitches and spreading them out lower or higher, one or two notes at a time. Try putting the ninth in a bass note and seeing how that sounds!

The best thing about the minor 9 is its ability to bring richness and depth to a chord without necessarily complicating the harmonic landscape; in fact it often has the opposite effect. It opens things up, allows more freedom to explore dissonance or stay smooth and diatonic in your melody, soaking up the added colors of the chordal harmony while keeping things simple.

The world is your oyster, how are you going to employ this chord in your next project?

Let us know on Discord if you’re a member of Soundfly’s subscriber community.

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